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** UP-DATED REVIEW **
My first car, which I still cherish, but I am now starting to think about bigger and better things .. only think mind you, this will keep me going for a good number of years yet, if I am not in a position to upgrade.
The car is now 5 years old, and I am in my fourth year of ownership, having bought it for £3,900, from an original retail price of circa £6,500 a year earlier - amazing how quickly cars depreciate in value ... I would never buy brand new for that simple reason. 2 year warranty also remained on the car, but I think I am right in thinking most decent manufacturers provide a 3 year warranty these days.
If you want a reliable, solid, nippy, and efficient car then you can't really go wrong with a Ford Fiesta, in whatever model you are considering. Obviously price will vary by a few grand dependent upon engine capacity, but I know 10-12 Ford Fiesta owners who have all been more than satisfied with the performance their cars provide.
I recall when I was researching the purchase of a car, I spoke to a local garage owner who was trying to sell a Rover of some sort ... after viewing the car, I mentioned that I had pretty much made my mind up to buy a Ford Fiesta, which he advised me strongly against it, as he didn't feel they where built for motorway driving, and more so for shopping, as little run arounds. I felt he was trying to steer (no pun inteneded! Well, maybe a little one) me towards the purchase of the Rover, so ignored the advice and bought a Fiesta, which I have not regretted. It has not posed any problems in terms of performance or technical failures - except for bad driving on my part - and has been incredibly reliable during winter months when some cars engines refuse to combust. I have travelled approx. 50,000 miles in 4 years and it has been more than reliable.
* APPEARANCE - I suppose everybody will have their own individual thoughts and opinions on apperance, but I don't think it's an ugly car and is more to my personal taste in terms of it is well rounded (ahem!) and not square appearance, which I do find ugly in a car.
Ford Fiesta's come in a range of different colours, with the option of metallic paint work as well - usually at an additonal cost. The interior is usually cream or grey.
They are also a small to mid-sized car, which means they can fit into pretty much most spaces with ease. So, car parking is an absolute doddle, especially as your gunning position, sorry ... driving position is at a fairly decent height and not too low to the floor, like in most racing cars.
* PARTS - Generally not too expensive and you can shop around, without always having to rely on a Ford Dealership, who are more than likely going to charge the most. I was fleeced for over £500 when I last had it serviced by Ford, which I just agreed to at the time because they called me at work to inform me of the repair work required, and it was a very stressful day, so I just said go-ahead. Ooppss ... Replacing items such as wiper blades is cheap and very easy to do yourself, but does tend to be a good profit generator for the garage if you allow them to do it!
In fact, my experience of dealerships is not very good, nor is my family's, in regards to this particular Motor company, so I tend to have Service work and M.O.T.s carried out by independent garages or AA autocentres, but that is just my personal preference due to personal experience. However, that's not to say that other people do not have a good experience with Ford. However, and apologies to any mechanics, but garages have generally got you by the short and curly's anyway, because they are aware most people haven't a scooby doo when it coms to their motor vehicles. They can just tell when they are talking to you, and you have that blank look on your face, plus I am sure they throw weird and wonderful phrases in just to doubley make sure you don;t have a scooby, maybe something like ... ".. your sky light needs fixing" or "your shopping storage box requires replacing". My Dad has paid out over £6k in the last couple of years and trying to get his Ford transit van repaired, and every time it comes back something else is wrong with it or the work that should have been carried out has not been done. Problem is, it's very difficlut to prove and take them to ask over it. My advice, always have a mate who is a mechanic and pay him a little more than you would pay a garage, it will be cheaper in the long-run!!
* FEATURES - There are not really many to shout about, as this particular model, to my annoyance, doesn't have eletric windows or automatic locking, so everything is quite old fashioned in that sense. No air conditioning, no rev counter (that surprised me actually) .. but it does come complete with steering wheel, accelerator, clutch, foot brake, hand brake, speed indicator, fuel gauge, cold & hot air controls, glove box (handy for storing CD's and insurance documentation! Possibly a small revolver if you are Amercian and purchasing for usage within the USA), seat belts for all, gear stick - complete with 5 forward gears plus reverse, and that's about it! Oh yes, and both driver and passeneger airbags (front passengers only though! If your accident prone, best you don't risk taking any back seat passenegers.... !!) ... But, enough of the joking, I like the car and it suited me as a first time, none posy buyer of a motorised vehicle for transportation purposes.
* PERFORMANCE - As I have stated above, I have found the vehicle to perform very well during it's 5 year life span. It is certainly efficient to run and maintain, with a full tank running out around 280-285 miles and costing around £0.12p per mile. Oil and water tend to hold at the right levels for what should be a decenet prolonged period of time, and I have never had a need to peform a complete oil change myself outside of a service.
The car handles well at 80-90 MPH and will, at a push do 115 MPH, but obviously not on domestic UK roads ... you need to go to a race track or a German autobahn to be doing those kind of speeds (!) ... and, in all honesty, if you get to that speed on a German autobahn, you are still going to get embarrassed by some efficient looking German businessman called Heinz, as he effortlessly whizzes by you in his BMW or Audi, whilst your busy trying to shake every last little effort out of the Fiesta, as it shakes and judders to give you that last extra 1 MPH more that you think you need to break the World Land Speed Record (for a Ford Fiesta of course!).
* BRAKES - Very solid foot pedal with good reactions, which gives some re-assurance as this car does not benefit from ABS assisted braking. Although, in all honesty, my mate who has a Ford Fiesta Zetec 1.6, has experienced two accidents (both his fault I may add!), due to what he said was ABS assisted braking, so maybe it's not all it's cracked up to be?! Or maybe he's just a crap driver who doesn't pay attention to the road and needed to blame it on something else?! However, I have had to get the brakes re-adjusted and replaced on a few occasions, and have not been as completely happy with the performance as in the first couple of years. They have just been done again and I am fairly pleased with their performance.
* STEERING - Power steering, which all vehicles should have, particulalrly Commercial vehicles. The unfortunate thing though is that I have had to have the tracking re-alligned on circa 8 occasions since ownership ... pretty much twice a year. I don't know whether this is a problem specifically with the Ford Fiesta or just a hazard of having so many speed bumps and high curbs near to me home.
* IN CAR ENTERTAINMENT - Besides the driver (a.k.a Me) ... hehehe ... the car come with a standard Casette player and Radio, but I up-graded to a Pioneer CD, Radio and MP3 player, which provides me with greater musical flexibility ... I may review this one day.
* ENGINE - Petrol engine (unleaded regular 4 star), which as I have stated elsewhere can run very efficiently if you drive economically that is. The petrol tank is located on the rear left hand side of the vehicle.
* STORAGE SPACE - The boot size is actually larger than you would expect, and has really been helpful to me, as I tend to travel away from home for days at a time and thus need plenty of space for all my luggage. I do tend to carry quite a lot of clothing because I am like a girl and never know for definite what I am going to work ... I like a selection of different outfits (abuse coming my way from the blokes reading this no doubt!!)
All round, a good, solid, reliable car, particualrly for those on a budget and looking for something fairly cost effective. It is also more reasonably priced than other motor cars to insure.
Good op Alan, can't stand boxy, angular cars either. The old shape Volvo was just all wrong in my opinion. xx
Amazingwoo 20.04.2006 18:51
I'm the reverse - I was wanting to buy a Fiesta but ended up buying a Rover. Test drove the "just passed it's MOT luv" Fiesta and found it had hardly any brakes. The most buttock-clenching, white-knuckle test-drive I've ever experienced.
beatlesgal25 15.04.2006 15:38
I learnt to drive in a Fiesta Flame, it was a lovely car! Great review! Em x